-Kano NAPPMED supports regulatory activities
-Group kicks against enforcement
The Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) has extended the two-week ultimatum issued to patent medicine dealers at the Sabon Gari open drug market, Kano, to relocate to the newly commissioned Coordinated Wholesale Centre (CWC) in Kano State, to two weeks after the gubernatorial elections in March.
Registrar, PCN, Pharm. Babashehu Ahmed, had on 20 February 2023, given a directive to all open drug medicine dealers under the aegis of National Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicines (NAPPMED) to quit the Sabon Gari drug market in two weeks and relocate to the CWC also known as Kano Economic City, for enforcement of regulatory standard on the distribution and sales of drugs in the country.
In a telephone interview with Pharmanewsonline on Tuesday, Ahmed disclosed that the prevailing insecurity in the country and electioneering process necessitated an extention of the ultimatum till two weeks after the gubernatorial elections, while urging concerned dealers to take advantage of the window period to do the needful.
Meanwhile, a splinter group involved in the sale of drugs in the Sabon Gari open drug market, called “Igbo Medicine Dealers Association” has challenged an alleged ‘forceful relocation of its members’ at the Federal High Court in Kano, where it obtained an interim injunction restraining the agency from enforcing it’s planned regulatory action.
According to the group’s legal counsel, Barrister Abdulazeez Adam Muhammad, members of the group claimed that the PCN is forcing them against their wish to occupy the CWC at exorbitant prices; also that the place has been sold to other individuals and not exclusively for the NAPPMED members as is being said.
However, the Kano State NAPPMED President, Hussaini Labaran, has disowned medicine dealers protesting the relocation of the open drug market, saying they are not his members, but members of a non-indigenous ethnic group.
In a telephone interview with Pharmanewsonline on Tuesday, he said “Those kicking against the relocation of the Sabon Gari open drug market are not our members. They are members of a splinter group called “Igbo Medicine Dealers Association”, they have nothing to do with us.
“Anybody who says he is not aware of the planned enforcement prior to this time is lying, because we had a meeting with the former PCN Registrar, Dr NAE Mohammed, when he came to Kano to brief us on the plan of the government to relocate the market, and we all agreed and embraced it.
“Somewhere along the line, argument on the location where the CWC was sited came up, as some non-indigenes of Kano objected to relocating to the centre, claiming that the location is too remote from their residential areas. They also cited the issue of security at the centre”.
Labaran further disclosed that after several petitions written against the regulatory action of the PCN by the non-indigenous group, the Kano State Government assured protection of all operators in the centre, but insisted that the venue cannot be changed due to the nature of heavy trucks that supply drugs to the dealers.
He further hinted on reasons the group members didn’t want to relocate to the new centre, noting that some of them sell drugs not registered by NAFDAC, and as such, don’t want to be regulated. Again, he said the non-indigenes complained about the price of the shops, whereas they were notified initially in 2017 on acquisition of the shops but they declined until inflation had affected it.
Reacting to the legal injunction, the PCN Registrar, stated the position of the agency as enshrined in the PCN Act 2022, Section 4 (b) which clearly states that the PCN shall regulate the standard of Pharmacy practice and business in Nigeria.
According to him: “It is very clear that combined provisions of the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (Establishment) Act, 2022 and Regulations thereof, Poison and Pharmacy Act Cap 535, National Drug Policy, 2021 and National Drug Distribution Guidelines, prohibit sales of drugs in any unregistered premises, that is, premises not duly registered by the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria.
” It is pertinent to state that government as the custodian of public health demands citizens involved in sales of medicines within the value chain to be law abiding and protect health of the citizens. In essence, such players in the sector must ensure that the citizens access effective, safe and quality medicines offered for sale in premises duly inspected, approved and licenced by the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria and such medicines must be duly registered by National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC)”.